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Revision Checklist for IGCSE

Physics 0625
A guide for Students
Revision Checklist for IGCSE Physics 0625

A guide for students

How to use this guide

The guide describes what you need to know about your IGSCE Physics examination.

It will help you to plan your revision programme for the written examinations and will explain
what the examiners are looking for in the answers you write. It can also be used to help you
to revise by using the tick boxes in Section 3, ‘What you need to know', to check what you
know and which topic areas of Physics you have covered.

The guide contains the following sections:

Section 1: How will you be tested?

This section will give you information about the different types of theory and practical
examination Papers that are available.

Section 2: What will be tested?

This section describes the areas of knowledge, understanding and skills that the Examiners
will test you on. It is particularly important to realise that most marks are awarded for
understanding and skills and only 25% of the total mark is for simple recall.

Section 3: What you need to know

This shows the syllabus in a simple way so that you can check

• the topics you need to know about

• how the Extended syllabus (Supplement) differs from the Core syllabus
• details about each topic in the syllabus
• how much of the syllabus you have covered


This section covers other things you need to know such as:
• symbols, units and definitions of physical quantities
• the importance of the command words the Examiners use in examination Papers
• information about the mathematical skills you need

Not all the information will be relevant to you. For example, you will need to select what you
need to know in Sections 1 and 3 by finding out from your teacher which examination Papers
you will be taking.

Section 1: How will you be tested?

1.1 The examination Papers you will take

You will be entered for three examination Papers, two theory Papers and one practical
You will need to ask your teacher which practical Paper you are taking. Nearer the time of
the examination, you will also need to ask which theory papers you are being entered for.

If your teacher thinks that you should enter for the examination based on the Core syllabus,
you will take Paper 1 (theory), Paper 2 (theory) and one of the practical Papers (4 or 5 or 6).

If your teacher thinks that you should enter for the examination based on the Extended
syllabus, you will take Paper 1 (theory), Paper 3 (theory) and one of the practical Papers (4
or 5 or 6).

Whether you take Paper 2 or 3 will depend on the progress your teacher thinks you have
made and which paper best suits your particular strengths. You should discuss this with your

All students are assessed on practical work. This is by taking EITHER Paper 4 OR
Paper 5 OR Paper 6. You should check with your teacher which paper you are to take.

1.2 About the theory Papers

The table gives you information about the theory Papers

Paper number How long and how What's in the What's the % of the
many marks? Paper? total examination?
Paper 1 45 minutes 40 multiple choice 30%
(40 marks) questions. You
choose one answer
you consider correct
from 4 possible
Paper 2 1 ¼ hours Short answer and 50%
(80 marks) structured questions. (you do either Paper 2 or
You should write Paper 3)
your answers in the
spaces provided.
The Paper tests
topics in the Core
Paper 3 1 ¼ hours Short answer and 50%
(80 marks) structured questions. (you do either Paper 2 or
You should write Paper 3)
your answers in the
spaces provided.
The Paper tests
topics in the
Extended syllabus.
Practical Paper see next table see next table 20%
Total 100%

1.3 About the practical Papers

Twenty percent of the marks for IGCSE Physics are for practical work. Practical work is
based only on the Core syllabus.
You will do one of the practical Papers shown in the table. Your teacher will tell you which
practical Paper you will do. The number of marks varies between the Papers, but your final
mark will be calculated so it is worth the same percentage of the total examination as all the
other practical Papers.

Paper number and type How long and how many What's involved?
Paper 4 no fixed time You design and carry out
(coursework) (48 marks) experiments, which are then
marked by your teacher. You
will be assessed on 4 skill
areas. You need to produce
2 pieces of work for each
skill area.
Paper 5 1 ¼ hours You do a practical exam
(practical test) (40 marks) which is supervised by a
teacher. You will carry out 4
short experiments.
Paper 6 1 hour You answer a written paper
(alternative to practical) (40 marks) about practical work. There
are usually 5 questions
which test the same skill
areas as Paper 5.

The Practical Papers

Here is some more detail about each of the Practical Papers. If you are unsure of anything,
ask your teacher.

1.3.1 Paper 4 (coursework)

You will carry out several experiments throughout your Physics course, which will be marked
by your teacher. Your teacher will mark you on 4 skill areas. What you have to do to get a
basic (B), medium (M) or high (H) mark is shown below. You could use a highlighter pen, or
underlining, to note the differences between basic, medium and high.

Skill C1: Using apparatus

You follow written instructions to set up and use apparatus correctly. You carry out your work

B: •You follow instructions correctly to do a single practical operation e.g. set up a simple
circuit and record the current.
•You use familiar apparatus, with a little help on points of safety.

M: •You follow instructions correctly to do a series of step-by-step practical

operations, e.g. set up a circuit and record a series of voltage and current readings.
•You use familiar apparatus fairly well, with no help on points of safety.

H: •You follow instructions correctly to do a series of step-by-step practical

operations, but may need to change one step if things don’t work out as you
thought, e.g. use a wider range of loads to extend a spring a measurable amount.
• You use familiar apparatus very well, with no help on points of safety.
Skill C2: Observing
You make observations and measurements and write them down clearly.

B: •You make suitable observations when given some detailed instructions.

•You record results correctly when given a detailed table or some help.

M: •You make suitable observations when given minimal instructions.

•You record results correctly when given an outline table or minimal help.

H: •You make suitable observations without help and record results as accurately as
the apparatus allows.
•You record results correctly without help.

Skill C3: Handling results

You draw graphs and/ or perform calculations from your results. You draw conclusions from
your results and recognize any results, which do not fit into the pattern.

B: •You draw graphs (or do some calculations) from your results when
given detailed suggestions.
•You draw simple conclusions from your results.

M: •You draw graphs (or do some calculations) from your results when
given only a little help.
•You draw simple conclusions from your results and comment on the patterns
shown by the data, e.g. the extension of a spring is proportional to the load.
•You comment on results, which do not fit the pattern.

H: •You draw graphs (or do some calculations) from your results when
given no help.
•You draw more general conclusions from your results and comment on the
patterns, e.g. the resistance of the wire increases with temperature.
• You comment on results which do not fit the pattern and suggest how to deal
with them, e.g. repeat a reading.
•You suggest what errors there are in your experiment.

Skill C4: Planning and evaluating

You plan your experiment given some basic information from your teacher. You suggest how
well your plan worked and modify if necessary.

B: •You write a simple plan for your experiment.

• You modify your plan after doing several experiments to see which works the

M: •You write a plan for your experiment, which has a series of logical steps in it.
•You modify your plan after doing trial experiments and give reasons why you
need to alter your original plan.
•If there are two variables (things which can change e.g. length of wire,
diameter of wire), you recognise that one variable needs to be changed, while
the other is kept the same, e.g. keep the diameter of the wire the same but
vary the length.

H: •You write a plan for your experiment which has a series of logical and clearly
reasoned steps.
•You modify your plan after doing trial experiments, give reasons why you
need to alter your original plan and suggest to what extent your plan works, and
why. You suggest how to deal with unexpected results.
• If there are more than two variables, you recognise which needs to be controlled
(kept constant) and which needs to be changed.

1.3.2 Paper 5 (Practical test)

You do a practical exam, which is supervised by a teacher. You are given an instruction
sheet, which enables you carry out the experiments, handle the data and draw appropriate
conclusions. You may be asked to use the following techniques:
• recording current and potential difference and drawing circuit diagrams
• ray tracing and drawing ray diagrams
• measuring temperature
• balancing (centre of mass and moments)
• stretching of springs
• timing of oscillations

1.3.3 Paper 6 (alternative to practical)

This is a written paper, testing the same four skills as Paper 5. You may be asked to:
• record readings from diagrams of apparatus e.g. current readings
• answer questions on the arrangement of apparatus
• complete tables of data
• draw conclusions from information
• answer questions about experimental data
• plot a graph from a table of readings
• interpret information from graphs
• draw ray diagrams
• identify sources of error and suggest improvements in the experiment
• suggest suitable apparatus for investigations

You will need to do plenty of practical work during the course in order to score a good mark
on this Paper in the examination.

Section 2: What will be tested?

The Examiners take account of the following areas in your examination Papers:

• your knowledge (what you remember) and understanding (how you use what you
know and apply it to unfamiliar situations)
• how you handle information and solve problems
• your use experimental skills

These areas of knowledge and skills are called Assessment Objectives. The theory Papers
test mainly Objective A (knowledge with understanding) and Assessment Objective B
(handling information and problem solving). You should note that only half the marks
available for Assessment Objective A are for simple recall. The purpose of the practical
Paper is to test Assessment Objective C (experimental skills). Your teacher will be able to
give you more information about how each of these is used in examination Papers. The table
shows you the range of skills you should try to develop.
Skill What the skill means What you need to be able to
A: remembering facts 1. use scientific ideas, facts
Knowledge with understanding and applying these and laws
facts to new situations 2. know the meaning of
scientific terms e.g. centre of
3. know about apparatus and
how it works
4. know about symbols,
quantities (e.g. mass and
weight) and units (e.g. kg and
5. understand the importance
of science in
everyday life

B: how you extract 1. select and organize

Handling information and information and information from graphs,
solving problems rearrange it in a tables and written text
sensible pattern and 2. change information from
how you carry out one form to another e.g. draw
calculations and make graphs.
predictions 3. arrange data and carry out
4. identify patterns from
information given and draw
5. explain scientific
relationships, e.g. use the
moving (kinetic) particle theory
to explain ideas about solids,
liquids and gases.
6. make predictions and
develop scientific ideas
7. solve problems

C: planning and carrying 1. set up and use apparatus

experimental skills and out experiments and safely
investigations recording and 2. make observations and
analysing information measurements and record
3. analyse experimental
results and suggest how valid
they are
4. plan and carry out your own
experiment and
describe to what extent your
plan worked
Section 3: What you need to know

This is a table, which describes the things you may be tested on in the examination. If you
are studying only the Core syllabus (Papers 1 and 2), you will need to refer only to the
column headed Core material. If you are studying the Extended syllabus (Papers 1 and 3),
you will need to refer to both the Core material and the Extended material columns. If you
are unsure about which material to use, you should ask you teacher for advice.

How to use the table

You can use the table throughout your course to check the topic areas you have covered.
You can also use it as a revision aid. When you think you have a good knowledge of a topic,
you can tick the appropriate box in the checklist column. The main headings in the topic
areas are usually followed by the details of what you should know. Test yourself as follows:
• cover up the details with a piece of paper
• try to remember the details
• when you have remembered the details correctly, put a tick in the appropriate box

If you use a pencil to tick the boxes, you can retest yourself whenever you want by simply
rubbing out the ticks. If you are using the table to check which topics you have covered, you
can put a tick in the topic column, next to the appropriate bullet point.

The column headed ‘Comments’ can be used:

• to add further information about the details for each bullet point
• to add learning aids, e.g. simple equations set out in a triangle to help in rearranging the
• to highlight areas of difficulty/ things you need to ask your teacher about
Core material Extended material

You should be able to: Checklist Comments You should be able to: Checklist Comments
General Physics
Length and time • Use and describe Use and describe the use
the use of rules and † of a mechanical method †
measuring cylinders to for the measurement of a
determine a length or a small distance measure
volume. and describe how to
• Use and describe measure a short interval
the use of clocks and † of time (including the
devices for measuring period of a pendulum).
an interval of time.
Speed, velocity and • Define speed and • Distinguish between
acceleration calculate speed from † speed and velocity †
total distance • Recognise linear
total time motion for which the †
• Plot and interpret a acceleration is constant
speed/time graph or a † and calculate the
distance/time graph acceleration.
• Recognise from the • Recognise motion for
shape of a speed/time which the acceleration is †
graph when a body is † not constant.
(a) at rest, (b) moving • Describe qualitatively
with constant speed, the motion of bodies †
(c) moving with falling in a uniform
changing speed. gravitational field with
• Calculate the area and without air resistance
under a speed/time (including reference to
graph to determine the † terminal velocity).
distance travelled for
motion with constant
• Demonstrate some †
understanding that
acceleration is related
to changing speed.
• State that the
acceleration of free fall †
for a body near to the
Earth is constant.
Mass and weight • Show familiarity • Demonstrate an
with the idea of the † understanding that mass †
mass of a body. is a property which
• State that weight is ‘resists’ change in
a force. † motion.
• Demonstrate • Describe, and use the
understanding that † concept of, weight as the †
weights (and hence effect of a gravitational
masses) may be field on a mass.
compared using a
Density Describe an Describe the
experiment to † determination of the †
determine the density density of an irregularly
of a liquid and of a shaped solid by the
regularly shaped solid method of displacement
and make the and make the necessary
necessary calculation. calculation.

(a) Effects of • State that a force • Interpret
forces may produce a change † extension/load graphs. †
in size and shape of a State Hooke’s Law and
body. recall and use the
• Plot extension/load expression F = kx.
graphs and describe † • Recognise the
the associated significance of the term †
experimental ‘limit of proportionality’ for
procedure. an extension/load graph.
• Describe the ways • Recall and use the
in which a force may relation between force,
change the motion of a † mass and acceleration †
body. (including the direction).
• Find the resultant • Describe,
of two or more forces qualitatively, motion in a
acting along the same † curved path due to a
line. perpendicular force (F = †
mv2/r is not required).

(b) Turning effect • Describe the • Perform and describe

moment of a force as a † an experiment (involving †
measure of its turning vertical forces) to verify
effect and give that there is no net
everyday examples. moment on a body in
• Describe, equilibrium.
qualitatively, the • Apply the idea of
balancing of a beam † opposing moments to
about a pivot. simple systems in †

(c) Conditions for State that, when there

equilibrium is no resultant force †
and no resultant
turning effect, a system
is in equilibrium.
(d) Centre of mass • Perform and
describe an experiment †
to determine the
position of the centre of
mass of a plane
• Describe
qualitatively the effect
of the position of the †
centre of mass on the
stability of simple

(e) Scalars and • Demonstrate an

vectors understanding of the †
difference between
scalars and vectors and
give common examples.
• Add vectors by
graphical representation †
to determine a resultant.
• Determine graphically
a resultant of two vectors. †
Energy, work and
(a) Energy • Demonstrate an • Recall and use the
understanding that an † expressions k.e.= †
object may have ½ mv2 and p.e. = mgh.
energy due to its
motion or its position,
and that energy may
be transferred and
• Give examples of
energy in different †
forms, including kinetic,
gravitational, chemical,
strain, nuclear, internal,
electrical, light and
• Give examples of
the conversion of
energy from one form †
to another and of its
transfer from one place
to another.
• Apply the principle
of energy conservation
to simple examples. †

(b) Energy Describe how • Show an

resources electricity or other understanding that †
useful forms of energy energy is released by
may be obtained from nuclear fusion in the Sun.
(i) chemical energy • Show a qualitative
stored in fuel † understanding of
(ii) water, including the efficiency. †
energy stored in †
waves, in tides and in
water behind
hydroelectric dams
(iii) geothermal

(iv) nuclear fission †

(v) heat and light from †

the Sun.
(c) Work Relate, without • Describe energy
calculation, work done † changes in terms of work †
to the magnitude of a done.
force and distance • Recall and use ∆W =
moved. Fd = ∆E. †
(d) Power Relate, without Recall and use the
calculation, power to † equation P = E/t in simple †
work done and time systems.
taken, using
appropriate examples.
Pressure • Relate, without Recall and use the
calculation, pressure to † equation p= F/A. †
force and area, using Recall and use the
appropriate examples. equation p= h∆g. †
• Describe the simple
mercury barometer and †
its use in measuring
atmospheric pressure.
• Relate, without
calculation, the †
pressure beneath a
liquid surface to depth
and to density, using
appropriate examples.
• Use and describe
the use of a †
Thermal Physics
Simple kinetic
molecular model of
(a) States of matter State the distinguishing
properties of solids, †
liquids and gases.

(b) Molecular • Describe • Relate the properties

model qualitatively the † of solids, liquids and †
molecular structure of gases to the forces and
solids, liquids and distances between
gases. molecules and to the
• Interpret the motion of the molecules.
temperature of a gas in † • Show an appreciation
terms of the motion of that massive particles
its molecules. may be moved by light, †
• Describe fast-moving molecules.
qualitatively the
pressure of a gas in †
terms of the motion of
its molecules.
• Describe
qualitatively the effect
of a change of †
temperature on the
pressure of a gas at
constant volume.
• Show an
understanding of the
random motion of †
particles in a
suspension as
evidence for the kinetic
molecular model of
• Describe this
motion (sometimes
known as Brownian †
motion) in terms of
random molecular

(c) Evaporation • Describe Demonstrate an

evaporation in terms of † understanding of how †
the escape of more- temperature, surface
energetic molecules area and draught over a
from the surface of a surface influence
liquid. evaporation.
• Relate evaporation
and the consequent †
(d) Pressure • Relate the change • Recall and use the
changes in volume of a gas to † equation pV = constant at †
change in pressure constant temperature.
applied to the gas at
constant temperature.
Thermal properties

(a) Thermal • Describe • Show an appreciation

expansion of qualitatively the † of the relative order of †
solids, liquids and thermal expansion of magnitude of the
gases solids, liquids and expansion of solids,
gases. liquids and gases.
• Identify and explain
some of the everyday †
applications and
consequences of
thermal expansion.
• Describe
qualitatively the effect
of a change of †
temperature on the
volume of a gas at
constant pressure.
(b) Measurement of • Appreciate how a • Demonstrate
temperature physical property which † understanding of †
varies with temperature sensitivity, range and
may be used for the linearity.
measurement of • Describe the structure
temperature and state of a thermocouple and †
examples of such show understanding of its
properties. use for measuring high
• Recognise the temperatures and those
need for and identify which vary rapidly.
fixed points. †
• Describe the
structure and action of
liquid-in-glass †
(c) Thermal • Relate a rise in • Describe an
capacity temperature of a body † experiment to measure †
to an increase in the specific heat capacity
internal energy. of a substance.
• Show an
understanding of the †
term thermal capacity.
(d) Melting and • Describe melting • Distinguish between
boiling and boiling in terms of † boiling and evaporation †
energy input without a • Use the terms latent
change in temperature. heat of vaporisation and †
• State the meaning latent heat of fusion and
of melting point and † give a molecular
boiling point. interpretation of latent
• Describe heat.
condensation and † • Describe an
solidification. experiment to measure †
specific latent heats for
steam and for ice.
Transfer of thermal
(a) Conduction • Describe • Give a simple
experiments to † molecular account of the †
demonstrate the heat transfer in solids.
properties of good and
bad conductors of heat.
(b) Convection • Relate convection
in fluids to density †
changes and describe
experiments to
illustrate convection.
(c) Radiation • Identify infra-red • Describe experiments
radiation as part of the † to show the properties of †
electromagnetic good and bad emitters
spectrum. and good and bad
absorbers of infra-red
(d) Consequences • Identify and explain
of energy transfer some of the everyday †
applications and
consequences of
conduction, convection
and radiation.

Properties of
waves, including
light and sound
General wave • Describe what is • Give the meaning of
properties meant by wave motion † the term wavefront. †
as illustrated by • Recall and use the
vibration in ropes, equation v = f xλ. †
springs and by • Interpret reflection,
experiments using refraction and diffraction †
water waves. using wave theory.
• Use the term
wavefront. †
• Give the meaning
of speed, frequency, †
wavelength and
• Distinguish
between transverse †
and longitudinal waves
and give suitable
• Describe the use of
water waves to show
(i) reflection at
a plane †
(ii) refraction
due to a †
change of
(iii) diffraction
produced by †
wide and
(a) Reflection • Describe the Perform simple
formation, and give the † constructions, †
characteristics, of the measurements and
image in a plane calculations.
• Use the law angle
of incidence = angle of †
(b) Refraction • Describe an • Recall and use the
experimental † definition of refractive †
demonstration of the index n in terms of speed.
refraction of light. • Recall and use the
• Use the equation sin i/sin r = n. †
terminology for the † • Describe the action of
angle of incidence i optical fibres. †
and angle of refraction
r and describe the
passage of light
through parallel-sided
transparent material.
• Give the meaning
of critical angle. †
• Describe internal
and total internal †

(c) Converging • Describe the action • Draw ray diagrams to

lenses of a thin converging † illustrate the formation of †
lens on a beam of light. a virtual image by a
t • Use the terms single lens.
principal focus and • Use and describe the
focal length. † use of a single lens as a †
• Draw ray diagrams magnifying glass.
to illustrate the
formation of a real †
image by a single lens.

(d) Dispersion of • Give a qualitative

light account of the †
dispersion of light as
illustrated by the action
on light of a glass
(e) • Describe the main • State the approximate
electromagnetic features of the † value of the speed of †
spectrum electromagnetic electromagnetic waves.
spectrum and state that • Use the term
all e-m waves travel monochromatic. †
with the same high
speed in vacuo.
Sound • Describe the • Describe
production of sound by † compression and †
vibrating sources. rarefaction.
• Describe the • State the order of
longitudinal nature of † magnitude of the speed †
sound waves. of sound in air, liquids
• State the and solids.
approximate range of †
audible frequencies.
• Show an
understanding that a †
medium is required in
order to transmit sound
• Describe an
experiment to †
determine the speed of
sound in air.
• Relate the
loudness and pitch of †
sound waves to
amplitude and
• Describe how the
reflection of sound may †
produce an echo.

Electricity and
Simple phenomena • State the properties
of magnetism of magnets. †
• Give an account of
induced magnetism.
• Distinguish †
between ferrous and
non-ferrous materials.
• Describe methods †
of magnetisation and of
• Describe an
experiment to identify †
the pattern of field lines
round a bar magnet.
• Distinguish †
between the magnetic
properties of iron and
• Distinguish
between the design †
and use of permanent
magnets and

Electrical quantities
(a) Electric charge • Describe simple • State that charge is
experiments to show † measured in coulombs. †
the production and • State the direction of
detection of lines of force and †
electrostatic charges. describe simple field
• State that there patterns.
are positive and † • Give an account of
negative charges. charging by induction. †
• State that unlike • Recall and use the
charges attract and † simple electron model to †
that like charges repel. distinguish between
• Describe an electric conductors and
field as a region in insulators.
which an electric †
charge experiences a
• Distinguish
between electrical
conductors and †
insulators and give
typical examples.

(b) Current • State that current is • Show understanding

related to the flow of † that a current is a rate of †
charge. flow of charge and recall
• Use and describe and use the equation
the use of an ammeter. † I = Q/t.
• Distinguish between
the direction of flow of
electrons and
conventional current.

(c) Electro-motive • State that the e.m.f. • Show understanding

force of a source of electrical † that e.m.f. is defined in †
energy is measured in terms of energy supplied
volts. by a source in driving
charge round a complete
(d) Potential • State that the
difference potential difference †
across a circuit
component is
measured in volts.
• Use and describe
the use of a voltmeter. †

(e) Resistance • State that • Recall and use

resistance = pd/current † quantitatively the †
and understand proportionality between
qualitatively how resistance and the length
changes in p.d. or and the inverse
resistance affect proportionality between
current. resistance and cross-
• Recall and use the † sectional area of a wire.
equation R = V/I.

• Describe an †
experiment to
determine resistance
using a voltmeter and
an ammeter.
• Relate (without †
calculation) the
resistance of a wire to
its length and to its

(f) Electrical • Recall and use the

Energy equation P = IV and †
E = Ivt.
Electrical circuits
(a) Circuit diagrams • Draw and interpret • Draw and interpret
circuit diagrams † circuit diagrams †
containing sources, containing diodes and
switches, resistors transistors.
(fixed and variable),
lamps, ammeters,
magnetising coils,
transformers, bells,
fuses, relays.

(b) Series and • Understand that the • Recall and use the
parallel circuits current at every point in † fact that the sum of the †
a series circuit is the p.d.s. across the
same. components in a series
• Give the combined circuit is equal to the total
resistance of two or † p.d.s. across the supply.
more resistors in • Recall and use the
series. fact that the current from
• State that, for a the source is the sum of †
parallel circuit, the † the currents in the
current from the source separate branches of a
is larger than the parallel circuit.
current in each branch. • Calculate the effective
• State that the resistance of two
combined resistance of resistors in parallel. †
two resistors in parallel †
is less than that of
either resistor by itself.
• State the
advantages of
connecting lamps in †
parallel in a lighting
(c) Action and use • Describe the action • Describe the action of
of circuit of a variable potential † a diode and show †
components divider (potentiometer). understanding of its use
• Describe the action as a rectifier.
of thermistors and light • Describe the action of
dependent resistors † a transistor as an †
and show electrically operated
understanding of their switch and show
use as input understanding of its use
transducers. in switching circuits.
• Describe the action • Recognise and show
of a capacitor as an understanding of circuits
energy store and show † operating as light †
understanding of its sensitive switches and
use in time delay temperature operated
circuits. alarms (using a relay or a
• Describe the action transistor).
of a relay and show †
understanding of its
use in switching

(d) Digital • Explain and use the

electronics terms digital and †
• State that logic gates
are circuits containing †
transistors and other
• Describe the action
on NOT, AND, OR, †
NAND and NOR gates.
• Design and
understand simple digital †
circuits combining several
logic gates.
• State and use the
symbols for logic gates
(the American ANSIY †
32.14 symbols will be

Dangers of • State the hazards

electricity of (i) damaged †
insulation (ii)
overheating of cables
(iii) damp conditions.
• Show an
understanding of the †
use of fuses and/or
(a) Electromagnetic • Describe an • State the factors
induction experiment which † affecting the magnitude
shows that a changing of an induced e.m.f. †
magnetic field can
induce an e.m.f. in a • Show understanding
circuit. that the direction of an †
induced e.m.f. opposes
the change causing it.

(b) a.c generator • Describe a rotating-

coil generator and the †
use of slip rings.
• Sketch a graph of
voltage output against
time for a simple a.c. †

(c) Transformer • Describe the • Describe the principle

construction of a basic † of operation of a †
iron-cored transformer transformer.
as used for voltage • Recall and use the
transformations. equation VpIp = VsIs (for †
• Recall and use the 100% efficiency).
equation (Vp/Vs ) = • Discuss the energy
(Np/Ns). † loss in cables. †
• Describe the use of
the transformer in high-
voltage transmission of †
• Give the
advantages of high †
voltage transmission.
(d) The magnetic • Describe the • State the qualitative
effect of a current pattern of the magnetic † variation of the strength †
field due to currents in of the magnetic field over
straight wires and in salient parts of the
solenoids. pattern.
• Describe • Describe the effect on
applications of the the magnetic field of †
magnetic effect of † changing the magnitude
current, including the and direction of the
action of a relay. current.

(e) Force on a Describe an • Describe an

current-carrying experiment to show † experiment to show the †
conductor that a force acts on a corresponding force on
current-carrying beams of charged
conductor in a particles.
magnetic field, • State and use the
including the effect of relative directions of †
reversing (i) the force, field and current.
current, (ii) the
direction of the field.
(f) d.c. motor • State that a Describe the effect of
current-carrying coil in † increasing the current. †
a magnetic field
experiences a turning
effect and that the
effect is increased by
increasing the number
of turns on the coil.
• Relate this turning
effect to the action of
an electric motor. †
Cathode ray
(a) Cathode rays • Describe the
production and †
detection of cathode
• Describe their
deflection in electric †
• State that the
particles emitted in
thermionic emission †
are electrons.

(b) Simple • Describe in outline

treatment of the basic structure, and †
cathode-ray action, of a cathode-ray
oscilloscope oscilloscope (detailed
circuits are not required).
• Use and describe the
use of a cathode-ray
oscilloscope to display †

Atomic physics
(a) Detection of • Show awareness of
radioactivity the existence of †
• Describe the
detection of α-particles, †
β-particles and γ-rays.

(b) Characteristics • State that • Describe their

of the three kinds radioactive emissions † deflection in electric fields †
of emission occur randomly over and magnetic fields.
space and time. • Interpret their relative †
• State, for ionising effects.
radioactive emissions: †
(i)their nature
(ii)their relative †
ionising effects
(iii) their relative †
abilities. †

(c) Radioactive • State the meaning

decay of radioactive decay, †
using equations
(involving words or
symbols) to represent
changes in the
composition of the
nucleus when particles
are emitted.
(d) Half-life • Use the term half-
life in simple †
calculations which
might involve
information in tables or
decay curves.
(e) Safety • Describe how
precautions radioactive materials †
are handled, used and
stored in a safe way.
The nuclear atom
(a) Atomic model • Describe the • Describe how the
structure of an atom in † scattering of alpha- †
terms of a nucleus and particles by thin metal
electrons. foils provides evidence
for the nuclear atom.
(b) Nucleus • Describe the
composition of the †
nucleus in terms of
protons and neutrons.
• Use the term
proton number (=
atomic number), Z, use †
the term nucleon
number (= mass
number), A, use the
term nuclide and
nuclide notation

(c) Isotopes • Use the term isotope †

• Give and explain
examples of practical †
applications of isotopes

You should be able to state the symbols for the following physical quantities and, where
indicated, state the units in which they are measured. You should be able to define those
items indicated by an asterisk (*) The list for ‘Extended’ includes both the Core and the
(for all students) (for students who are following the Extended Syllabus)
Quantity Symbol Unit Quantity Symbol Unit

length l, h ... km, m, cm, mm

area A m2 cm2 ,

volume V m3, cm3

weight W N N*
mass m, M kg, g mg
time t h, mm, s ms
density* g/cm3, kg/m3
speed* a, v km/h, m/s, cm/s
acceleration a acceleration* m/s2
acceleration of
free fall g
force F, P ... N force* N*
moment of a force* Nm
work done W, E J work done by a force* J*
energy E J J*, kW h*
power P w power* w*
pressure p, P pressure* Pa*, N/m2
atmospheric pressure millibar
temperature θ,t o
specific heat
capacity c J/(g oC), J/(kg oC) specific heat capacity*
latent heat L J specific latent heat* l J/kg, J/g
frequency* f Hz
wavelength* λ m, cm
focal length f
angle of incidence i degree(o) refractive index n
angle of reflection,
refraction r degree(o)
critical angle c degree(o)

difference /voltageV V, mV potential difference* V*
current I A, mA current*
charge C, As
e.m.f E V e.m.f.*
resistance R Ω

Command words and phrases used in physics papers

Examiners use command words to help you to write down the answer they are looking for.
This table explains what each of these words or phrases means and will help you to
understand the kind of answer you should write. The list is in alphabetical order. You should
bear in mind that the meaning of a term may vary slightly according to how the question is

Calculate A numerical answer is needed. You should show any working,

especially when there are two or more steps in a calculation.
e.g. calculate the refractive index
Deduce This may be used in two ways:
(i) You find the answer by working out the patterns in the
information given to you and drawing logical conclusions from
them. You may need to use information from tables and graphs
and do calculations
e.g. deduce what will happen to velocity of the vehicle if ….
(ii) You have to refer to a Law or scientific theory or give a reason
for your answer
e.g. use your knowledge of the kinetic theory to deduce what
will happen when ……
Define You need to state the meaning of something
e.g. define speed
Describe You need to state the main points about something (using labelled
diagrams if it helps you).
e.g. describe a rotating-coil generator
You may also be asked to describe
• observations e.g. describe the ways in which a force may change
the motion of a body
• how to do particular experiments e.g. describe an experiment to
determine resistance using a voltmeter and an ammeter

Determine You are expected to use a formula or method that you know to
calculate a quantity.
e.g. Determine graphically the resultant of two vectors
Discuss You have to write down points for and against an argument
e.g. discuss the energy loss in cables
Estimate Suggest an approximate value for a quantity based on reasons
and data. You may need to make some approximations.
e.g. estimate the volume of a test tube.
Explain You have to give reasons for your answer
OR refer to a particular theory
Find This is a general term meaning several similar things such as
calculate, measure, determine etc.
List Write down a number of separate points. Where the number of
points is stated in the question, you should not write more than this
e.g. list three uses of converging lenses
Meant See ‘Understand’
(what is meant
by the term…)
Measure You are expected to find a quantity by using a measuring
e.g. length (by using a ruler), volume (by using a measuring
Outline State the main points briefly
e.g. outline a method of magnetising an iron bar
Predict This can be used in two ways:
(i) You find the answer by working out the patterns in the
information provided and drawing logical conclusions from this. You
may need to use information from tables and graphs and do
e.g. predict what will happen to the direction of the resultant
force if ….
(ii) It may also mean giving a short answer to a question stating
what might happen next
e.g. predict what effect an increase in temperature will have on
the resistance.
Sketch (i) When drawing graphs, this means that you may draw the
approximate shape and/ or position of the graph BUT you need to
make sure that important details, such as the line passing through
the origin or finishing at a certain point, are drawn accurately.
(ii) When drawing apparatus or other diagrams, a simple line
drawing is all that is needed, but you must make sure that the
proportions are correct and the most important details are shown.
You should always remember to label your diagrams.
State You should give a short answer without going into any detail
e.g. state the hazards of damaged electrical insulation
BUT: ‘state the meaning of…’ is different. It is more like
Suggest This may be used in two ways:
(i) There may be more than one correct answer.
e.g. suggest a precaution to improve the accuracy of the
(ii) You are being asked to apply your general knowledge of
physics or reasoning skills to a topic area that is not on the syllabus
e.g. applying ideas about moments to the stability of a vehicle
Understand You should (i) define something and (ii) make a more detailed
(what do you comment about it. The amount of detail depends on the number of
understand by marks awarded.
the term..) e.g. what do you understand by the term total internal reflection
The mathematical skills you need

This is a checklist of the mathematical skills you need for your physics exam.

Tick each box in the checklist when you know that you have got this skill.
Ask your teacher to explain these skills if you are unsure. The comment column is for extra
notes and examples.

You can use a calculator for all the Papers. You should make sure that you remove any
information from your calculator, if it is programmable.

You can: checklist comments

• add, subtract, multiply and divide


• averages
• decimals ‫ٱ‬
• fractions ‫ٱ‬
• percentages ‫ٱ‬
• ratios ‫ٱ‬
• reciprocals

• recognise standard notation

(notation is putting symbols for ‫ٱ‬
numbers e.g. x = 2, y = 5,
atomic mass, Z = 12)

• use standard notation ‫ٱ‬

• use direct proportion

(stepwise increases) ‫ٱ‬ You should know that if you plot a
graph of y against x, then a straight
line through the origin shows that y
is directly proportional to x

• use inverse proportion the inverse of 4 is ¼ (= 0.25)

(inverse means turned up side
down) ‫ٱ‬

• use numbers to the ‘power of 10’ Your calculator will often show
e.g. 1x102 = 100 ‫ٱ‬ number to the power of 10 when
you do calculations. Do not worry
too much though – your calculator
does the work for you.

• draw charts
‫ٱ‬ You will be given the data
• graphs with line of best fit
• bar graphs
• pie charts
• line graphs
• select suitable scales and axes
for graphs ‫ٱ‬
• make approximations
use the formulas:

• area = length x width

• volume = length x breadth x height
• use and convert metric units into
one another ‫ٱ‬ e.g. 100 cm = 1 m
1000 g = 1 kg

• use a ruler, compasses,

protractor and set square ‫ٱ‬
understand the meaning of :

• angle ‫ٱ‬
• curve ‫ٱ‬
• circle ‫ٱ‬
• radius ‫ٱ‬
• diameter ‫ٱ‬
• square ‫ٱ‬
• parallelogram ‫ٱ‬
• rectangle ‫ٱ‬
• diagonal ‫ٱ‬
• solve equations of the form x = yz
when two of the terms are known ‫ٱ‬
recognise and use points of the

compass (N, S, E, W) ‫ٱ‬